Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – September 5, 2017
I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me. John 17:23-24
If I could sit down with a group of people and ask them how to experience joy, I might get all kinds of answers: practice gratitude, take regular vacations, cultivate a hobby, don’t worry, and remember that money won’t fix all your problems.
But in God’s Word, I found a little nugget recently that I hadn’t noticed before which pointed me to another answer that made me smile. In John 15:9-11 Jesus says:
“As the father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my father’s commandments and abide in his love. The things I have spoken to you, that you might have joy and that your joy may be full.”
When I have read this passage before, my eyes have always fallen on “If you keep my commandments . . .”
Okay, God. Yes, I get it. If I follow your commandments, I will experience joy. That means I shouldn’t lie, steal, and all that stuff. Then, my joy will be full.
But in my Bible, there is a break in the text and white space on the page before you get to verse 12 which adds a delightful surprise to this passage that I hadn’t really paid attention to before. Verses 12-13 say:
“This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.”
Pretty awesome, huh? Jesus is saying, “You can do all kinds of things to try and experience joy, but if you really want to know how you can really grab onto joy: then follow my commandment to love one another as I have loved you.”
Pretty awesome, huh? This means loving others is God’s pathway to joy. This passage also reveals that relationships are hugely important to God because loving one another as He loves us is His command. It’s not a suggestion.
We can go searching all over the world looking for joy in experiences, in stuff, and achievements. But Jesus says, “Do you want to know how to experience joy? I will tell you how. Be in authentic relationships with one another, love one another, and serve one another. That’s how you can experience joy.”
Simple truth. Powerful impact.
Who can you intentionally love today by serving them to obey Christ and experience joy?
“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep” (John 10:11).
PrayerLord, it’s so easy to lose focus in life and forget that what is most important to you is loving others. Please enlarge my heart and help me to abide in your love so I can love as you love. Amen.
ApplicationTake one small action today to intentionally serve someone else so you can experience joy.
Related ReadingMatthew 22:39; Galatians 5:14; Romans 15:2
Post/Tweet todayJoy comes from loving and obeying Jesus. #WisdomHunters #joy
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